The women’s rowing team knew what was at stake. They were at one of the most prestigious head regattas in the world. They took the pressure of this once in a season opportunity and used it to their advantage.

The Varsity 4 stepped up as they took seventh place at the 46th annual Head of Charles Regatta with a time less than a minute away from the eventual winners, Emory University.

“We had a solid race,” freshman Julia Evans said. “Our piece wasn’t perfect, but we came off the water with positive attitudes about it, and we were thrilled with our seventh place finish.”

The Varsity 4, consisting of senior Alyssa Berkowitz, sophomore Francesca Ossi, freshmen Kristiana Lachiusa, Rhiannon Vaughn, and coxswain Evans, had chips on their shoulders after a disappointing 11th place finish last week at the Head of the Genesee over Meliora Weekend. They showed what they were made of in Boston, besting 23 other teams.

“We were extremely pleased with our Varsity 4 placing seventh,” senior Margaret Zupa said. “That is a huge jump and guarantees us a bid for next year.”

The Varsity 8 weren’t as fortunate in their race, finishing in 22nd place out of 31 total teams. They finished a little under 100 seconds behind the Williams College boat that dominated the course.

“Our results were not what we expected,” senior Hannah Stenger said. “It is tough because our boat feels like we rowed a great race, but unfortunately, with the number of boats in our event, our standing was much lower than we had hoped. There was only a 40 second margin between eighth and 22nd place, which is not a huge difference normally, but because of the volume of crews, it pushed our place back quite a bit.”

Despite perfect conditions and a brand new boat, the women couldn’t rally back from a tough start. They showed strength through most of the race but couldn’t make up for the time they lost over the three-mile course.

“At the finish, we felt great and thought we did really well,” junior Courtney Stewart said. “It felt solid and smooth, but the results said differently.”

The women now look ahead to an extremely different environment at their next regatta. The Head of the Schuylkill is considered a much smaller regatta than the Head of Charles, but that doesn’t mean the women can take it lightly.

The women learned from the Head of Charles’ races and know how to improve going into this weekend.

“Our goals for this week are to clean up some technique issues so that we can really find some power and speed for the Head of the Schuylkill next weekend,” Zupa said.

Confidence and motivation are the two driving factors that will put the team over the top and make this one of the best teams to ever race for the Yellowjacket community. The Head of Charles was just the spark plug they needed to finish the season strong.

“I think this past weekend has fired us up even more to finish the season strong,” Stenger said. “We are getting faster every week and have three more races to improve on our times. We had a great row at Charles, so we are just going to keep that feeling for this weekend, but kick it up a notch and get closer to the place we feel our performance deserves.”

Manrique is a member ofthe class of 2012.

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